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Local Turkish Community Rallies For Earthquake Relief — Here's How You Can Help

A group of people, some wearing hard hats and orange vests, stand near a red crane  that sits to the left of a destroyed building with a middle that looks carved out from the top floor to the bottom. A pile of rubble lies in front of the building.
Rescue workers and volunteers conduct search-and-rescue operations Monday in the rubble of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir.
(Ilyas Akengin
AFP via Getty Images)
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Southern California’s Turkish community has sprung into action following Monday’s devastating earthquake that has killed thousands in Turkey and Syria.

Turkish American groups and businesses have been collecting donations for relief. One firm, a Turkish-owned grocery delivery company called Bakkal, has been sending cars and vans out to pick up donated items from businesses and homes.

Bakkal founder and CEO Murat Karslioglu listed a few of the things they’re collecting: “First-aid kits, over-the-counter medication, diapers, clothes, sleeping bags and blankets.”

Volunteers and workers are also picking up tents, hand warmers, and other cold-weather aid for people who’ve lost their homes, he said.

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“We do deliveries, with vans or cars, and we thought this is where we can help,” Karslioglu said.

Bakkal, which Karslioglu describes as sort of an “Instacart for ethnic groceries,” has offices in northern California and Los Angeles, and a warehouse in Wilmington, where some of the donations are being sorted.

He said the company is coordinating with local Turkish American groups and the Turkish consulate to collect donations in the L.A. area and also in the Bay Area, and with Turkish Airlines to have them flown overseas. You can peruse a list of items that are in demand here.

Karslioglu said he survived a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Turkey in 1999, so he can imagine the dire need that exists now.

“The shortest path to recovery is to provide immediate emergency materials,” he said, “because there is going to be a shortage.”

Other Turkish American groups have posted requests for relief donations online, among them the Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California.

How To Help
  • International Blue Crescent

    • Asking for monetary and supply donations of tents, heaters, blankets, thermal clothes, meals ready-to-eat for at least 5,000 people, first aid kids
    • Operates an office in Turkey, near the epicenter of the quake
    • Reach out to Alper Mavi, a program coordinator
      • +90 538 5159806
  • Turkish Red Crescent

    • Asking for monetary donations through a direct bank deposit (info available here through Twitter)
    • Similar to the Red Cross, it provides medical aid and basic needs supplies such as blankets and food
  • Syrian American Medical Society

    • Asking for monetary donations to buy trauma supplies
    • A medical relief organization that operates hospitals along the Syrian border focused on refugees
  • Karam Foundation

    • Asking for monetary donations
    • Runs a facility along the Turkey/Syria border to educate young leaders
  • Islamic Relief

    • Asking for monetary donations to provide basic needs and supplies
    • Provides emergency relief such as food and health care during natural disasters
  • ShelterBox

    • Asking for monetary donations that will go to general fund to build shelters
    • Will send stoves, thermal blankets, and clothing
  • Donations via Bakkal

    • This grocery-delivery company is collecting donations in L.A. and the Bay Area and delivering them to the local Turkish consulate.
    • Fill out this form if you wish to donate — it includes a list of items that are in demand.
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